St Kilda

Jan. 15th, 2016 08:47 am
airiefairie: (3D)

Here is the fascinating story of St Kilda, a small rocky island in the Outer Hebrides, which had to be abandoned after centuries of habitation, mostly because of the deteriorating living conditions and extreme isolation from the rest of Scotland. It is a unique case where the local population voluntarily requested relocation from the mainland authorities. Now the island is a protected natural area.
airiefairie: (3D)
"The best defense against the bullshit is vigilance. So if you smell something, say something".

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Well said. Goodbye, Jon.
airiefairie: (3D)
Extraordinary artist Alexandra Putrya (1977-1989) became notable through painting thousands of artworks, before dying at the age of 11 from leukemia.

Wow this is impressing. I wasn't aware of this girl's story. Somehow reminds me of that other girl, Akiane.

airiefairie: (3D)
This is a sad time for Europe, as it puts a mirror right before its face and forces it to look. And the sight it is seeing is not pretty at all.

The saddest thing is that the media and the public keep addressing the wrong side of the problem. Having listened to the media in the last few days, I could not help noticing how almost everyone is again pointing the finger at smugglers, calling for doubling the efforts to fight them, as if that would somehow tackle the problem in its roots and magically stop the loss of life at sea.

Until people realise that not the smugglers are the reason why people are boarding unseaworthy vessels desperately trying to reach the shores of Europe to do menial work for subsistence pay, these tragedies will continue.
airiefairie: (Default)
From a 2003 Eric Alterman article:

The current historical moment in journalism is hardly a happy one. Journalists trying to do honest work find themselves under siege from several sides simultaneously. Corporate conglomerates increasingly view journalism as "software," valuable only insofar as it contributes to the bottom line. In the mad pursuit for audience and advertisers, the quality of the news itself becomes degraded, leading journalists to alternating fits of self-loathing and self-pity. Meanwhile, they face an Administration with a commitment to secrecy unmatched in modern US history. And to top it all off, conservative organizations and media outlets lie in wait, eager to pounce on any journalist who tries to give voice to almost any uncomfortable truth about influential American institutions--in other words, to behave as an honest reporter--throwing up the discredited but nevertheless effective accusation of "liberal bias" in order to protect the powerful from scrutiny.

Courtesy: [ profile] peristaltor.
airiefairie: (Default)
As an addendum to this post, I should say that I am myself partly vegetarian (I occasionally eat chicken and dairy products), and not for moral reasons but for health/diet reasons. I wouldn't go that far as to say that meat should be completely abandoned because it does indeed provide some compounds which no other supplement could provide in a natural, non-synthetic way. However I do agree that people would do good to themselves if they think about adjusting their diets.

But the one thing many are neglecting is the issue with chaotic daily routine and fast lifestyle. There are two more problems that we should talk about more often than we are:

- Irregular eating habits. When I say 'diet' I do not mean self-deprivation of food, or certain foods. I am rather talking about a regular eating schedule which is essential. There are some certain basic principles of eating throughout the day, like what is best to be eaten in the morning, during the day and in the evening, and in what quantities.

- Eating slowly. Fast food is a very bad thing. I understand that people's lifestyles are such that they demand fast eating, but this could be even more devastating for the health than eating more than the body requires.

And of course I shouldn't miss to mention movement. Today most of us sit on a chair for most of the day, then return home and sit on a sofa, then go into a bed. This something worth thinking about.
airiefairie: (Default)
I have often come across absurdities on the children's books market, and this is the most recent one. I suppose it was a book which was meant to teach kids about the concept of polarities. Just one thing I couldn't understand... What sins have the poor critters done in order to have themselves mocked like that?... =)

See pictures )

As far as I can see, what separates smart from stupid is the size of the tail. Which hardly bothers elephants, but how about people... I think people are particularly concerned about their tails, mmm yes I think so! They even often compare and check whose tail is longer! =)

Maybe I should take the notebook and the pencils and draw one of those bedtime tales myself, huh? =)
airiefairie: (Default)
In order to be mentally healthy, one must have the ability to express themselves properly, and without fear and shame of revealing their feelings and thoughts. And the conventional wisdom goes that the better one expresses themselves, the better they will be understood by others, and the more success they will have in society. But of course the development of decent communication skills should start from a very, very early age.

Some anecdata and then some questions )

Cross-posted to [ profile] talk_politics.
airiefairie: (Default)
Kol, in a recent conversation: "Personally I like the mystery of sometimes, just sometimes not knowing where a person I care about is and what they are doing. There is a certain charm in it."

I couldn't agree more.
airiefairie: (Default)
Hehe it is becoming like a habit of mine to pick up comments that I have made elsewhere and put them here.

There was a discussion about multiculturalism, the melting pot paradigm, cultural assimilation of immigrants, etc... Well what can I say. This is a complicated issue indeed. Here you have an Icelandic couple living in a country like South Africa and amidst a culture as remote from home as it could be...and having two very young children who will obviously grow up in their new home, among South Africans...mostly of the Afrikaner community but also with some English speakers around and quite a lot of Xhosa (i.e. black) friends in school and on the street. They still speak Icelandic at home but when the kids go to the street they will probably have to speak Afrikaans and a little Xhosa, and English in school. They will mix up with a palette of cultures, from white Afrikaner to coloured to white English to black Xhosa to Malay and even some Zulu coming to town from other places. Should the two kids try to blend to such an extent that they would no longer feel themselves being Icelandic, and their kids would not speak a word of Icelandic one day, and they would name their kids with Afrikaner names instead of Nordic ones? How far does the cultural assimilation stretch, and with what speed should it occur? How much should the original identity be erased for the sake of cultural integration? All complicated questions...but I think when left alone to live their life as they see fit, and without being pressured, eventually these things would settle themselves naturally and without too much drama. The problem is that in countries like most of Western Europe where the economic crisis has stung really hard, people become much more sensitive about the issues of immigration, cultural differences and social controversies than they would have under more 'normal' circumstances.
airiefairie: (3D)
The controversy around Amy Chua's book is still raging on... Well, sure, it is just a book, but it did cause a huge debate in the American society... And I think this debate is universal.

The case: Are Chinese mothers superior to American ones, and in what way?

And still more and more opinions on the matter.

Despite her attempts to defend herself and explain that she is in fact not preaching to the American parents how they should raise their kids, and arguing that she only shared her personal experience, and especially the way she initially thought she should maintain a strict discipline with her kids as it was the way she was raised by her parents (first-generation Chinese immigrants), but was then humbled by her daughters' rebellion, the debate continues with increasing intensity.

So what are your thoughts on all that? Are her methods viable, do they work, and how applicable are they in society?

Some different points of view )

So which of these, or some other point of view on the matter, is the closest to you?

Cross posted: [ profile] talk_politics .
airiefairie: (Default)
I have tried to imagine how would Jesus be welcomed if he were to walk among men today.

The picture is always not good for him. He would probably be crucified in a much shorter time than he was the first time...
airiefairie: (3D)
Parable in pictures )
airiefairie: (3D)

I am sure most people have heard this one...

Two twin fetuses are talking inside their mother's womb.

A: Do you believe in life after birth?
B: Of course I do. It is obvious that there is life after birth. The purpose of our stay in here is to become strong enough and be prepared for real life.
A: Nonsense! There can be no life after birth. Can you imagine what kind of life that would be?
B: Well, I am not aware of the details, but I believe there will be light and we will be walking with our own legs and eat with our own mouths.
A: Nonsense! It is impossible to walk with your own legs and eat with your own mouth! This is ridiculous! We have an umbilical cord for that. We feed through it. Here is what I can tell you: there cannot be any life after birth, because our true life - the umbilical cord, is too short anyway.
B: Even so, I am sure life after birth is totally possible! Just... everything will be different from now. Just imagine!
A: But no-one has ever come back from there! Life just ends with birth! In other words, life is nothing but suffering in the darkness.
B: Oh, no! Don't say that... I am not sure what life after birth looks like, but I believe we will meet our Mommy and she will take care of us.
A: Mommy!? So you really believe in the existence of Mommy? And where do you think She is? How does She look like?
B: She... She is everywhere around us, we reside in Her, we are only able to live and move thanks to Her; without Her, we cannot exist.
A: Bullshit! I have never seen any Mommies, therefore it is more than clear that She does not exist.
airiefairie: (cap)

The new Icelandic national food is called Skuldasúpa.

Skuldasúpa translates like Soup of Debt. So you cannot throw in any healthy ingredients. It does not look like Icelandic Kronas on a bed of salad either. The krona tastes too bad but it can be used as toilet paper, it is actually a very good idea. Selling kronas as toilet paper would give me more € than if I would try to change them into € at the money exchange!

Our Krona is worth more as toilet paper than as a currency! :S

What you can put in the soup is our worthless currency, our bankers and businessmen that reach as far as they can because of vague or non-existent legislation... the parliament that did not make any viable rules (even they had several years) and encouraged the bankers and businessmen in continuing their "good job"... the institutes that were supposed to monitor the banks and make sure there was enough backup foreign currencies but did not... and last and not least our central bank managers plus all the politicians, both local and foreign that with their thoughtless comments and actions killed the last big bank in Iceland and our best chance of getting decently out of the crisis.

The government had just started to try to save the bank when our head bank manager (of the central bank) said "we (don't know who those "we" are) will not pay foreign debts for disorderly people". On the next day politicians in UK said "Believe it or not they are not going to pay", then took action against all Icelandic banks in England, not only the one that was already doomed. This caused panic and after a few hours the bank had collapsed even if the future looked rather good for it the day before.

So now I have explained the ingredients and you know how this soup looks like. Feel free to throw in some ingredients of your own choice but be warned that this soup is foul tasting and can never fill you up. In fact the soup is constantly hungry for your money so the best advice I can give you all is never to collect debt and don't let your politicians and "clever" businessmen do that to your countries.

By the way the strongest indication about how serious things are is that the Polish people that have been working in Iceland and sending money home have been forced to move back home because of the weak krona. If you come from abroad it is the other way around: you have serious spending power if you exchange $, € or any strong currency into kronas and spend the money there.

Things will first get worse before they become better. I hope our politicians and bankers will finally draw a lesson from all of this... but also the Icelandic people who have become too lazy, arrogant and self-sufficient and thus neglected their citizen's duties and did not supervise their rulers.



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